Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Health
Nursing Home Accommodation
658. To ask the Minister for Health the consideration given to a report (details supplied) regarding the recommendation to introduce a family liaison social worker into nursing homes and other residential care settings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11277/20]
723. To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to correspondence received from an organisation (details supplied) regarding recommendations for residential care settings and his response to date. [11605/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 658 and 723 together.
On foot of a National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) recommendation, on 23 May a COVID-19 Expert Panel on Nursing Homes was established, to examine the complex issues surrounding the management of COVID-19 among this particularly vulnerable cohort.
The purpose of the Panel is to examine the national and international responses to the COVID-19 crisis, and to examine the emerging best practice. The main objective of the Panel is to provide immediate real-time learnings and recommendations in light of the expected ongoing impact of COVID-19 over the next 12-18 months. COVID-19 is a new disease, which can present atypically in the frail elderly, and new evidence and best practice in its management are constantly emerging.
The Terms of Reference of the Expert Panel are:
1. Provide assurance that the national protective public health and other measures adopted to safeguard residents in nursing homes, in light of COVID-19, are appropriate, comprehensive and in line with international guidelines and any lessons learned from Ireland's response to COVID-19 in nursing homes to date;
2. Provide an overview of the international response to COVID-19 in nursing homes utilising a systematic research process;
3. Report to the Minister for Health by end June 2020 in order to provide immediate real-time learnings and recommendations in light of the expected ongoing impact of COVID-19 over the next 12-18 months.
This independent Panel is chaired by Professor Cecily Kelleher, Principal of the College of Health and Agricultural Sciences, UCD. Professor Kelleher will be joined by Professor Cillian Twomey (Retired Geriatrician), Petrina Donnelly, Group Director of Nursing, RCSI Hospital Group, and Brigid Doherty, representing the public interest.
The correspondence and report referred to by the Deputy has been submitted to the Expert Panel and will be considered as part of its deliberations.